Non-landed private home prices slip again in April
RESALE prices of non-landed private homes continued to cool last month, according to numbers out yesterday.
Flash estimates from SRX Property showed that values dipped 0.7 per cent from March, and were down 4 per cent from April last year.
The estimates indicated that the month-on-month change in the price index for February has been revised from a 0.2 per cent decrease to a 0.4 per cent fall.
Director of R'ST Research Ong Kah Seng noted that there had been "some pent-up resale home-buying interest" after Chinese New Year but activity has reverted to "normalcy" - in this case, buyers being cautious.
Mr Wong Xian Yang, OrangeTee's manager of research and consultancy, concurred, adding that the market "continues to be encumbered by loan curbs and hefty stamp duties".
Prices in the prime central areas fell 0.1 per cent from March to last month and were down 1.5 per cent in the suburbs, while city-fringe prices inched up 0.4 per cent.
Resale transactions last month also slowed, with about 440 non-landed units changing hands - a 2.7 per cent decline from the 452 units resold in March.
This was 1.9 per cent higher than the 432 units resold in April last year but still down 78.5 per cent from April 2010, when 2,050 resale homes changed hands - the highest since 2009.
The slight drop in resale volume was likely due to more new developer launches last month, such as that of Northpark Residences in Yishun, noted ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim, adding that "the step-up of new launches possibly diverted some attention away from the resale market".
That resale volume grew year-on-year, however, could be "a sign that more buyers are returning as prices have more or less stabilised, and buyers are getting used to the loan curbs", said Mr Lim.
SRX Property's data showed that the overall median transaction over X-value (TOX) - a measure of whether buyers were overpaying or underpaying - has improved by $10,000 from March to reach $0 last month.
A $0 TOX means buyers are purchasing units at their computer-generated market value. The overall median TOX has been stuck in negative territory since December.
Among the districts with more than 10 resale transactions last month, District 16 (Bedok, Upper East Coast) had the highest median TOX of $20,000.
PropNex Realty chief executive Ismail Gafoor said that with the possible ongoing price consolidation, prices may not continue sliding much longer "as buyers and investors are expected to step in to pick up units at good prices".
"Also, with the impending elections coming up, any tweaking of the current policies will likely swing sentiments towards more of a seller's market.
"This may be an opportunity for genuine buyers to seek out good investment opportunities."
The Straits Times / Money Published on Wednesday, 13 May 2015